Greeks face unbearable costs related to their homes, far above the EU average


Several households were unable to meet utility rate hikes and had their power cut off.

TAGS: Economy, Property

Greece has the worst record among its European Union peers regarding the living conditions of households and their capacity to maintain their property and cover basic needs in running their homes.

A survey by the European Federation of National Organizations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA), using data from Eurostat published this year, showed that almost 41 percent of people in Greece face an excessive financial burden, having to spend over 40 percent of their total incomes to cover expenses associated with their home. This concerns property-related taxes such as ENFIA and council tax, rent, mortgage installments where they apply, and the costs of heating, water, the telephone and overall maintenance.

The yawing gap with the rest of the EU is evident when compared against the average rate of EU citizens facing such a burden, which comes to just 11 percent.

FEANTSA stresses that the picture in Greece is even more dramatic for the weakest households, which have less than 60 percent of the average disposable income, as 95 percent of them pay over 40 percent of their revenues for their homes.

“The situation in Greece is particularly worrying and has no precedent in any other EU country,” the report stresses. Its researchers note that there is a sense of “Apocalypse” in Greece reflected in data from the last few years, as the social impact of the financial crisis and austerity has grown dramatically.

In the period from 2007 to 2014 there was an increase by 25 percentage points of the country’s population that spend over 40 percent of their income on home-related expenses, as hikes in property taxes, utility rates and heating oil prices have sent household costs soaring, while the economy was in recession. The respective increase in the EU was no more than just 0.8 percentage points.

Greece also has the highest rate of people who delay their rent payments or the tranche of their mortgage, amounting to 14.6 percent, against just 4.1 percent in the rest of the EU. One-third of the people in Greece (33 percent) are unable to keep their homes warm in the winter, up by 19 percentage points from 2007, just as in the EU there was a decline in that rate by 1.6 percentage points.